This week encourages an Hour of Code which is an annual event students are happy to join in, especially when they know that others across the world are participating.
There are always engaging challenges posted online for students to try. When they complete the challenge, a certificate is provided. Students right click on the certificate and save it in their folder. Students then add the image to a post on their blog.
The following links were given and students could choose which one they would like to try. Some completed two or more of the activities within the hour.
- Studio Code
- Hour of Code Activities or
- Studio code 2019
Follow the conversations on Twitter #HourofCode @codeorg
Over the last three years, I have been priveleged to be a jury member (judge) for the Shymkemt Flash Mob Jury. This is an amazing collaborative event held at a school in the Republic of Kazakhstan to celebrate the UN International Day for Tolerance in November. Students at this school in Shymkemt perform a dance as part of a group of 10 or more students to their choice of music which can often mash and incorporate music from different genres including traditional folk.
Organisation on a global scale – largely led by Begaim, one of the teachers. Each year it improves and allows for many of the judges who speak English as their first or second language.
- a call for jury members (or judges) is sent out world wide through a variety of Skype group lists.
- a link is provided to a google sheet for educators/classes to add their names as jury members.
- A Skype group is formed as a backchannel prior to, during and after the event.
- The Flash Mob is live streamed through Youtube, with a test connection prior to the event.
- Prior to the official event, a professional and highly engaging video showing Shymkemt is played through the youtube channel.
- As the event starts two student leaders welcome everyone and announce the global judges which are a mix of teachers and classes from countries across the world – Germany, Bangladesh, Russia, Vietnam, Australia, USA, Sth Korea, Kasakhstan, Taiwan, Hungary etc
- Thirteen groups performed. Each of them was judged on a number of criteria and given a score from 5 to 10. They were judged on dance energy, team spirit, musicality, dance synchrony, creativity, appearance. Scores were added to the collaborative google sheet after each performance.
- Students chose their own music and made up their own moves. All were of a high standard and scores were close
- A master sheet kept track of the totals
- After approximately 1.5 hours, the final scores and winners were announced
See the video
- it is very special to be a virtual judge of events like this
- live participants in the youtube channel came from a variety of countries so their comments came up in their native language – fascinating to watch and to try and translate!
- the youtube channel showed the name of the group who was currently performing so we were all judging the right group
- however, as a collaborative sheet was worked on, someone was entering their scores on my sheet which threw me out as I looked like I was judging the dance group that had not yet started and not the current one.
Time zones can be very confusing and can be a major challenge for those who wish to connect globally in real time. Australia is one of the first countries to enter a new day so even though we may get the times right, we may have the wrong day as it can be Thursday for me and Wednesday for other countries eg USA. Then daylight saving is used in many countries. My students are always fascinated with the fact that they live in the future for many!!!
It is important to understand gmt or utc time as all countries can work out the time difference using this measurement. I live in SE Australia so for half the year, I am gmt+10 and when daylight saving starts, am gmt+11 or AEDT.
Following are some apps and tools that can help:
- Time on a smart mobile (cell) phone
- Time and date Timeanddate
- Doodle Doodle
- World Time Buddy World Time Buddy
As I use a windows computer and laptop, another option has been brought to my attention from Joe McNaulty in USA.
Here’s how to add UTC to your Windows 10 Task Bar: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-multiple-time-zone-clocks-windows-10 Puts it in the lower right corner when you hover over your clock.
I am going to try doing this as it may be the efiicient way to check when I decisions have to be made quickly.
This time of year is always so busy, with senior students completing exams, school reports needing to be done and lots of potential to get involved in global events and projects. Our school year is drawing to a close.
However, Nov 5 and 6 were great days to be involved in connecting with others during the Microsoft Global Learning Connections. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of junior computer classes on these days, but we were still able to connect and link with a number of countries including
- Sri Lanka
- Sth Africa
- USA (I connected early in my morning to talk to them at the end of their school day. It was Nov 7 for me and technically the celebrations had finished, but it was still Nov 6 for them).
What did we do?
- Played Mystery Skype with most of the countries and students
- Watched amazing yoga feats by students from India and saw some of their great craft work.
- Saw traditional dancing from Sri Lanka
- Participated in the MS Global Connections Playground with Steve Sherman from Sth Africa. There were educators from Beirut and Phillipines etc. I had students creating Lego robots so they were able to show their robots.
- I was going to share our farm with the US students, but my sound did not work.
Always test the connection As I had been on Skype so much at the beginning of the week, I did not test my audio when I connected with Steve Auslander’s class in the USA at 7am my time. Unfortunately, my audio did not work. Despite trying to mute, unmute and other quick possible fixes, they still could not hear me. So miming got me through with the few active minutes that I had with them, as it was the very end of their school day.
Expect the Unexpected: I had accepted Skype requests through the Skype in the Classroom website, but sometimes when the actual call came through, it was from a completely different Skype ID. Redferns School in India was one example. Their yoga performance for us was amazing as was the craft work they showed us. So glad, I accepted that call.
As I only had one or two classes that could connect, we had a number of sessions booked for that 50 minute period. Oher global classes were often held up and tried to ring us later than we expected. So we had to quickly finish some connections and be prepared for interuptions and delays. One option might have been to do a group call. There were so many educators and classes actively looking to connect and spending a longer time in the call.
Be better prepared: We loved looking at the craft work, the signs made, the dances and yoga demonstrations. Next time we will try and prepare things better to show a little about us.
Having used Skype for many years and found that it is still the one webconferencing tool that works well in my school and the area I live as it is not heavy on bandwidth. Microsoft took over Skype several years ago and instigated an annual 24 hour Skypeathon.
This year, they have changed the title to Microsoft Global Learning Connections which will encompass other collaborative tools eg Flipgrid, Teams etc but all the while encouraging classes across the world to become connected.
It is always a great experience to connect. Some classes sleep over at school for the 24 hours. Some of our past experiences included live linkups with schools in India who showed their traditional costumes and dancing, others demonstrated their outcomes in robotics, some played mystery Skype with us and some just called to quickly say hello.
Flipgrid is a trending tool to use in global connections and collaboration and it can be used with great success when time zones make it impossible to connect in real time.
Will you be involved this year? My classes certainly will. The hashtag being used is #MSFTGlobalConnect For more information check out some of the links below from Microsoft.
Teacher Toolkit: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectTeacherToolkit
Activity Plan: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectPlan
Educator Tips on how to organise an class/schoo event: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectTips
Social Toolkit (ready-made templates etc.): aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectSocial